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Major League Soccer

Worst in league, defending champion Galaxy fires Sampson.

Steve Sampson
Steve Sampson had a losing record as the Los Angeles Galaxy coach, but led the club to the domestic double in 2005.
-- Los Angeles Galaxy web site photo --
CARSON, Calif. (Tuesday, June 6, 2006) -- The struggling Los Angeles Galaxy, the defending Major League Soccer champion, fired coach Steve Sampson this afternoon.

A successor or interim coach was not announced, nor was the status of Sampson's staff. His top assistants were Billy McNicol, who is in his second season and directs the Galaxy reserve team, and Steve Rammel, who quit as coach of Saint Mary's College to join the club on December 15.

"Steve Sampson has worked tirelessly for this organization, but our 2006 campaign has yet to live up to the high standards that Galaxy fans have come to know and expect from their team," Los Angeles president and general manager Alexi Lalas said in a press release. "The Galaxy is the jewel of MLS, but with that distinction comes a responsibility to continuously set the bar, on and off the field.

The Galaxy, which has dropped six straight contests, has the worst record in MLS at 2-8-1. After being hired to replace Sigi Schmid, now the Columbus Crew coach, Sampson, 48, led L.A. to a 17-24-10 (.431) record, but his team was 4-2-1 in the playoffs, including last season's run to the domestic double -- the MLS Cup and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup crowns.

"I truly enjoyed my time here and wish everyone all the best in the future," Sampson said in the release.

Sampson was coach of the United States men from 1995-1998, compiling a 26-22-14 (.532) mark, which was the best record by a coach until it was surpassed by current manager Bruce Arena. He became the first American-born coach to lead his team into the World Cup, but the U.S. finished 32nd and last in the 1998 Cup in France.

Prior to joining the Galaxy, Sampson became the first American to coach a foreign team, leading Costa Rica for two years (2002-04) to a 11-7-4 (.591) record in international matches and the 2003 UNCAF Copa de Naciones title.

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